|
|
|
MailTribune.com
  • Researchers focus on addictive nature of nicotine

  • FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Smokers who want to kick the habit, or at least avoid health problems, may get help through research now being conducted.
    • email print
      Comment
  • FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Smokers who want to kick the habit, or at least avoid health problems, may get help through research now being conducted.
    Scripps Florida is studying ways to reduce nicotine cravings, the University of Miami is working on research that could kill cancerous cells in the lungs, and Florida Atlantic University is working on ways to make vaccines safer for smokers and those impacted by secondhand smoke.
    To boost their work, the Florida Department of Health in July awarded $1 million in grants to nine Florida researchers for tobacco and cancer-related projects, and the National Institutes of Health gave out millions more.
    About 80 percent of smokers who try to quit relapse within a year, studies show, despite such help as the nicotine patch, gum, inhalers, cessation classes and prescription medication such as Chantix.
    Scripps Florida, based at FAU's Jupiter campus, has received nearly $3 million in federal grants in 2013 for a variety of research looking for ways to reduce smoking. In one study, the biotech giant has found receptors that can limit nicotine consumption and protect against addiction.
    Another Scripps project focuses on developing agents that would change the dopamine in the brain and make it easier for those in recovery, from nicotine or other substances, to stay abstinent.
    One lesser known effect of tobacco, both for smokers and those exposed to secondhand smoke, is that it can prevent vaccines from working properly. Mahyar Nouri-Shirazi, associate professor at FAU's medical school, has received a $149,000 federal grant to test an agent that can improve the effectiveness of vaccines in people exposed to nicotine.
    "The ultimate goal of this project is to protect the public health," said Dr. John W. Newcomer, vice dean for graduate programs at Florida Atlantic University's College of Medicine.
    Florida Atlantic also is involved in several other tobacco-related research projects. Dr. Charles Hennekens of the College of Medicine has performed studies showing smoking is an equal opportunity killer for men and women, and how quitting smoking can reduce the chance of cardiovascular diseases. Other FAU researchers have studied the links between stress and nicotine cravings as well as ways to reduce smoking among different groups, including college students and Native Americans.
Reader Reaction

      calendar